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Field Education

Department of Social Work

The Placement Process

All students entering field complete an Internship Planning Form. This information is used along with telephone and face to face contact to determine the most appropriate foundation internship. Students attach a copy of their current resume, a copy of their current driver's license, and a self profile (directions are in the planning form) for review. The Field Director(s) review the application packet for completeness and evaluate the student's qualifications for field. The Director of Field Instruction makes arrangements for the internship based on this information. Students are not to arrange their own internships. Once an agency and Field Instructor (and Task Supervisor if necessary) have been identified, the student will be given an interview packet including: academic achievements, work experiences, career plans, an autobiographical statement and a Field Confirmation Form. The student is responsible for contacting the potential Field Instructor (and Task Supervisor if appropriate) and scheduling a face to face interview. This enables the student and the Field Instructor (and Task Supervisor if applicable) to determine if they will be able to work together toward the goals and objectives of the internship. If the interview is not successful (either the student or the Field Instructor or Task Supervisor feels that this is not a good match), then a review takes place to determine a different direction and the student is given another interview packet. Students are encouraged to make certain that they feel comfortable in the internship setting but also believe they will be challenged in their learning. Field Instructors and Task Supervisors are encouraged to feel comfortable with the student and in the student's ability to learn from the internship process. Sometimes interviews with the proposed Field Instructor lead to a decision to go in a different direction in regards to the internship site. During this process, it may become necessary for the Field Director(s) and the student to meet several times to finalize the internship. It is not always possible nor educationally sound to place students in their choices of agencies; therefore, alternate possibilities are explored carefully with those students affected.

Some agencies will require additional information related to the student before they are able to offer an internship. Immunization records, a criminal background check, and a drug screening are examples of such requirements. Students are altered to this information by the Field Education Office when possible. If a student is not comfortable complying with this information, they are encouraged to discuss this with the Field Education Director(s).

Students participate in a departmental field orientation prior to their placement within the agency. The orientation is designed to equip them with the necessary information for a successful internship and covers topics such as: roles and responsibilities, expectations, professionalism, learning styles, safety, supervision, evaluation, and classroom assignments.

Students are required to purchase professional liability insurance through the Department of Social Work. This is a blanket policy which applies to all social work students in their internships.

No Field Education credit is given for life experience or previous work experience.

Social Work Foundation Field Practicum (SOWK 5106 and 5206) consists of a two-semester concurrent placement of 16 hours per week, for a total of 240 hours per semester. Social Work Advanced Field Practicum (SOWK 5306 and 5406) consists of a two-semester concurrent placement of 16 hours per week (SOWK 5306) and 24 hours per week (SOWK 5406) for a total of 600 hours. The extended field option consists of SOWK 4957.091 taken in the summer and consisting of 16 hours per week, SOWK 5306.201 taken in the fall and consisting of 16 hours per week, and SOWK 5406.201 taken in the spring and consisting of 16 hours per week for a total of 600 hours.

The field experience is educationally directed and professionally supervised to provide students with the opportunity to engage in generalist social work activities in social service agency settings. Students are placed in agencies located primarily in Northeast Tennessee within a 50 mile radius of the university. However, a few agencies in Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina are utilized and additional field internship settings are recruited as needed.

Foundation Year

Students must be accepted into the MSW Program to be eligible for field education. The field internship is completed concurrently with class work and students must take practice coursework at the same time they are completing their internships.

Concentration (Advanced) Year

Students seeking to enter the concentration (advanced) field internship must have completed all of their foundation year classes successfully OR have been accepted into the advanced standing program and have completed their bridge and psychopathology courses. The advanced year internship is traditionally completed in the final two consecutive semesters of the MSW educational process. If a student elects to take a part-time course load, he/she will need to plan accordingly so that he/she is taking at least one practice course concurrently with his/her concentration year internship.

There is an extended field option which was designed to assist the working student by spreading the concentration year internship over three semesters (summer, fall, and spring) rather than two semesters. Students who wish to take advantage of this extended field option must have completed all of their foundation year classes or, if they are advanced standing students, must have completed their bridge and psychopathology classes.

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